The Corner

Political Correctness or Magnetic Fields?

Am I missing something? I read this piece in yesterday’s New York Times — or one like it. The Times version seemed to be even more unclear, but even here the problem remains.

This article seems to be saying that living near the equator makes it less likely TB vaccines will help you:

In countries in the northern hemisphere, the immune system protects the body against TB with TH1 cells. BCG and new candidate TB vaccines are designed to boost the TH1 cells.

But in people living near the equator, the TH1 cells are already on alert, so the protective mechanism is switched on but does not work because another inappropriate response is also turned on which undermines it.

Nowhere in this article do they make it clear: Are we talking about genetically defined races or are we talking about the effects of living near the equator? If a Swede lives in Ecuador, will the TB virus not work as well? Or is this a clunky euphemism for saying “people of color”? I don’t care either way, on the merits. But I think both explanations would be interesting to know and make the story better written. See what I mean?

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